Tick tock

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I didn’t get a chance to update last week, perhaps because I didn’t have anything to share! The Spring Tops, Tanks and Tees KAL over at luvinthemommyhood ends on Wednesday – you know, the Wednesday in two days time – and I certainly have some knitting hours ahead of me if I am to finish on time. I’m a few inches into the sleeves, knitting them two at a time. Luckily they are 3/4 and should be reasonably quick. If only I could sit down for more than fifteen minutes. Its hard to remain comfortable for too long with this extra load I have on board these days. I’m not complaining (too much), but I do miss my marathon knitting sessions. Perhaps it’s training for when he/she arrives?!

Sheepy Yoke

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In keeping with updating you on all my baby knitting (!), I am super excited to share with you what might be my favourite knit so far. Sure, its bigger, more likely to fit a 12 month old than a newborn, but it will be worth the wait until it fits!
We’ve all seen and swooned over Sheep Yoke Cardigan by Jennifer Little, and in fact I was all set to cast this guy on. I can’t really remember the reason why, but, after looking through the pattern and having a closer look at the sheep, something wasn’t working out for me and so I hunted a little more. What do you know – I couldn’t find a pattern that was exactly what I was looking for. However, I didn’t have to stumble too far to find another of Jennifer’s patterns – the Tulip Yoke Baby Cardigan – which I felt I could play around with a little more easily, and I liked how there were a greater number of repetitions around the yoke. I wanted to play, but not have to think too hard. I quickly whipped up a chart, traded the tulips for sheep, and headed to my local yarn store to find the most amazing combination in Cascade 220 Superwash. I couldn’t be happier with the colours.
Whilst I was working on the sweater, working top down, as soon as I got enough into the yoke that my stitches resembled something that looked like sheep, I had a constant stream of people asking me what the pattern was and where they could get it. And so, because it was such a fun knit and the outcome still gets me every time I take a peek at it, I have made up a little PDF with the chart and colours I used should you be interested.

Sheepy Yoke Cardigan Chart

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Please note that the Cascade 220 is a larger gauge than the sport weight the original pattern calls for. I made some modifications to accommodate that, which are outlined on my project page.

So far…

DSC_0085 DSC_0086 DSC_0003 DSC_0008DSC_0017 DSC_0018 DSC_0001 DSC_0024DSC_0011DSC_0012 Expecting a baby, especially your first (you know, when you have a little more time on your hands) is, at least for me, a crafter’s dream. Baby things are super quick to knit, and sew, and with so many ideas and independent designers out there coming out with the next cutest thing, you are not at a loss for inspiration.
I didn’t get into baby knitting for the first couple of months, there was plenty of work on the farm keeping me busy, and I felt like I had the time to go over all the patterns I had squirreled away should this moment happen, and make some plans. It was in fact when we had our 20 weeks that the urge to knit small teeny things really kicked in! I decided to have one baby project on the go at any one time, to be a light hearted project alongside the many others I seem to accumulate.
Even still, I have kind of lagged here and there and I haven’t worked up most of what I though I would have done by now. But I do have a little pile going, and now, as my input on the farm becomes less and less, I have some time to catch up.

The first project I finished was from the book What To Knit When You’re Expecting by Nikki Van de Car – a book I sought out to get as soon as we knew a baby was on the way. It turns out, however, that most of the patterns I adore are available for free via her blog. Anyway, having picked up some yarn whilst away with friends over New Years, (who, not only were expecting – they now have their baby in their arms – but another knitter-mumma-to-be!) I worked up the sweet hooded Hannah Jacket in Cascade 220 Superwash. The worsted weight yarn and larger guage made it a really quick knit and the icord trimming just perfects this sweet number. Instead of a crocheted button loops I knitted three small lenghts of icord instead, which allowed me to select some heftier leather buttons which have a shank. Quite the vintage look!
Next up was the ever popular Puerperium Cardigan by Kelly Brooker, and for this I dove into my stash and found some long forgotten handpainted superwash merino. I wasn’t super in love with the colourway, but I like how it knitted up. Scared of running out of yarn I decided to knit the short sleeved version which I think will look great over a long sleeved onesie. I’m a little dubious of all those buttons though… I feel like it will take 20 minutes to get that sweater on a wriggly baby!
With plenty of green left over from the hooded jacket, I took fancy to the Organic Guernsey pattern by Fawn Pea. My guage was a little off – the Cascacde 220 Superwash coming in a little ligther than the suggested Blue Sky Alpaca Organic Cotton. I didn’t do anything to adjust the pattern and so I have a long skinny jumper, oh well, I’m sure it will fit at some point.

You might think, looking at these projects, that we are expecting a boy. Actually, we don’t know, it will be a surprise, yet my attempts of keeping things ‘unisex’ had gravitated towards being a little masculine. I had to rectify that and whipped up something a little more girly… in a colour way I’m still swooning over! More soon.

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The perfect combination

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Last week Mister and I managed to sneak away from the hubbub of the farm for a few days – turns out, you give me needles, and he a finishing pole, and we are content for hours on end.
One of the biggest changes for us since last fall is that we are expecting our first baby in July (more on that tomorrow!), and rather than do our usual escape to mountains with our puppies and backpacks, we headed the same direction, just found a cabin and a lake instead (don’t worry, the dogs still came too) – two days in which we had a moment to enjoy ourselves pre-baby, celebrate our wedding anniversary and, well, catch up on some sleep!
Of course, like most knitters before taking a trip, the most important part of my packing was deciding upon which projects to bring with me. Only having two days and nights away I didn’t really need to take many options, but I brought along two WIPs to keep me busy – and really, who just takes one project away with them? The anxiety of finishing it, or running out of yarn, or loosing/breaking a needle and not having another project to work on is just too much. Turns out, however, that I monogomously worked on my Brock Cardigan for the Spring KAL I’m joining in with over at luvinthemommyhood. I got into a serious flow with it, and became addicted to working on it any time I could, which, when you’re in the middle of nowhere with no plans, is a lot! I managed to work up the most part of the body, including the short rows, lake side, and I finished the neat 1×1 ribbing this past weekend.
Naturally at this stage I have tried the cardi on, and, sure its needs a good blocking to get the full affect of the fit, but I’m thinking that a cropped cardigan is NOT the look for a 33 week pregnant body! I love LOVE the colour (could it remind me any more of the blues of the lake and sky?) and the fabric that the alpaca fingering creates is so soft and light, but how it looks on me right now? – I’m not so convinced. But I’m going to be doing a lot of changing in the next few months and I’m happy with the idea that this little knit will be a nice surprise to find in my pile of handknits once my body gets back to a shape that I’m more familiar with!
So this week, which I think is the last week of the KAL, I have sleeves and the icord border around the neckline and fronts to be getting on with… And, my favorite part, a search into my button tin for the perfect finishing touches.

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Momentum

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One week in and I’ve made some progress on my Brock cardigan for luvinthemommyhood’s Spring Tops, Tanks, and Tees KAL (try say that quickly!). Once I finally remembered that I had also received the PDF version of the book along with the print version, I printed out the pages required for the pattern and set about dividing the project into 4 week chunks. I rarely do this, but I’d love to finish this cardigan within the casual deadline of the knit a long, and what with a few other projects on the needles I want this knit to be a fun and ‘non thinky’ project. Setting myself weekly goals should keep this guy moving along…. in theory.
The beginning yoke actually required a bit more brain power than I had ready to give, but with the help of stitch markers at every pattern repeat I was able to get into a bit of a flow and it satisfied my love of chart knitting. I was worried in the first inch or so that the loose gauge of this skinny fingering would blur the chevron stitch pattern and get lost in the halo of the alpaca. I even considered pausing and working up a swatch with a size smaller needles and tried to ignore how much math I would have to do to adjust the pattern accordingly. However, like it always seems to be with any stitch pattern or colourwork, another inch in and the full effect of the awesomeness of a simple pattern created of just ‘knit’ and ‘purl’ stitches came through, and I was happy that I had stuck to my guns and continued on.
Chart work is over and I have almost made it, but not quite, to my ‘week 1′ goal of working up until the point of separating for the sleeves. I’m working raglan increases until that point and with around 300 stitches a row, which increase every other, it’s a little slow going. I find most yokes are though, and you feel like it will never end. But, what I also know, is that once I have separated for the sleeves and am rid of their stitches, the stitches left for the body seem so few, and fly along!!
My ‘week 2′ goal is to be done with the body and so I’m hoping my speedy expectations will come true. Whats more is that this pattern is a cropped cardigan, a style I usual steer clear of and have never actually knit. I hoping the 9 3/4″ body will feel like a cheat!
So on I go, knitting along with everyone else in the luvinthemommyhood community. I’ve also decided to use the momentum of this KAL to cast on another spring top, the idea of which began with this swatch….

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Sew Sunday : Times three

Currently, my weekly rhythm leaves Sunday as my sewing day – a day in which I can get out all my sewing supplies, a cup of tea, and take over our dining room table. Whilst I haven’t sewn properly in many years, last summer, whilst my Mum was visiting, my passion for it was rediscovered and I’d like to use this space as a way of documenting my weekly projects.
Nothing to wordy. Mostly pictures.
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Pattern : Divided Basket Pattern, by Noodlehead
Fabric : Pashmina by Sentimental Studios for Moda Fabrics
Notes : These baskest are amazing. As soon as I saw the pattern I knew I wanted to make a set. Like my knitting, I like to sew practical items – and whats better than cute storage?
For every step I had a little factory line going, as I knew I wanted to make more than one, and, as always, in sewing them up, I wanted to be as efficient as I could be. Like last time, these baskets were a first for a few things. I am no stranger to interfacing, and fusible at it’s best, but this was the first time I had used fusible fleece for extra support. Although sturdy, they are still squishy and I can already think of many uses for these guys around the house. I will definitely be making more. I love the coordinating exterior fabric and how the lining is simple – cheap calico – and that it matches perfectly with the rustic woven cotton handles.
Noodlehead‘s pattern is great – clear and instructive – and I’m excited to be slowly learning that there are just as many indie sewing designers out there as there are knitting designers! Who knew?! I’ll happily support them!
For now, these baskets find themselves on the shelves of an awaiting changing table, looking pretty – their ultimate use soon to be discovered.

Knit (along) with me…us!

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Last spring I took part in my first ever KAL over at luvinthemommyhood. Rather than talk about how I didn’t actually finish my project, I want go on about how much fun I had cruising alongside the great bunch of people in the luvinthemommyhood community! Shannon hosts a handful of KALs spread over the year and the Spring Tops, Tanks and Tees KAL kicks off today! For weeks already the ravelry group has been brimming with ideas and cast on plans, so much so that I’ve changed my mind on which project I’ll work on about eight gazillion times!

I’ve settled with a pattern from the inspiring book by Gudrun Johnston and Quince & CoKnit with Me. I didn’t think twice when I saw the patterns contained in this sweet collection, I had to have it on my shelf. Whilst I adore the chunky cable jacket on the front cover, Ambrosia, it is not a summer knit, and so it is my second favourite pattern in the book I will work on these next few weeks. Brock is a light little cardigan with a delicate chevron pattern wrapping around the yoke. The cropped body has a curved hem, and the sleeves – oh the sleeves – 3/4 length, slightly belled and then gathered at the cuff. My most local yarn store sadly closed at the end of last month, and in the final days I managed to pick up some of the softest Alpaca Wool Fingering from Frog Tree. It’s not my usual colour, but I’m up for something new.

So today we get to cast on – in fact I haven’t even swatched yet – and hopefully have it finished in the next few weeks, ready for summer evenings. I have work to do. Want to join us?